20 Best R&B Albums of 2016

Frank Ocean, Solange, Alicia Keys and more

Load Previous
Jamila Woods, 'Heavn'

11. Jamila Woods, 'Heavn'

The debut from Chicago singer Jamila Woods is dreamy and hopeful and shot through with politics, its fuzzed-out textures providing a comforting backdrop for luminous ruminations on love – for Woods' hometown, for her culture and for herself. Stretched-out jams like the sparkling Chi-town ode "LSD" and the playground-chant-inspired "VRY BLK" derive their power from their simplicity, its stripped-down arrangements alluding to dusty grooves of yore while also sounding very much of 2016. The album is rife with guests – fellow Windy City denizens Chance the Rapper, Noname and Donnie Trumpet – yet Woods's presence anchors the proceedings, her gently forceful voice sounding as powerful as when it explores the possibilities offered by "black girl magic" ("Yeah, she scares the government/Déjà vu of Tubman") as it does when she's lamenting romance lost. M.J.

Back to Top